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AS IT HAPPENED: Day at the docs
This live event has finished
- We were at Greenbank surgery which is chairman of the CCG Andy Davies' practice
- We spoke to doctors and patients throughout the day
- Read more to watch videos, see pictures and hear from doctors and patients alike
- Leave your comments at the bottom of the story
Thank you very much to everyone at Greenbank surgery for allowing us to spend the day with you
Doctors at the surgery will each see 30-34 patients today but despite the stresses and strains they have all had smiles on their faces and have been very welcoming to the Warrington Guardian team.
We will leave you on this note from Dr Davies who says it's the patients who keep him going.
He added: "In a survey most GPs said they were not satisfied with their job but despite everyone feeling overworked they also said they wanted to improve access for patients which I think is pretty special and that’s the kind of people we’re dealing with.
"We have got a great team here who work very hard and I'm very proud of them all."
This patient clearly hasn't been phased by her trip to the doc.
Four-week-old Isabelle Parry made the trip with her mum Hannah Harris to register her.
She added: "I have been coming here since I was born and it's a lot busier now but also a lot nicer and more welcoming.
"I've had trouble in the past getting appointments but today it was easy."
Here's junior doc Chris Watters
Variety of ailments coming through the doors this afternoon.
Alan Yates, from Paddington, has been in with a back problem.
He said: "I like it here and I'm used to the way it works now.
"Sometimes it can be hard to get appointments but not all the time."
Surgery is filling up again for afternoon session.
Just witnessed my second grumpy patient of the day during my time in the waiting room over appointment times.
Staff at the surgery today
Dr Andy Davies talks about his day so far as the Warrington Guardian go behind the scenes at what life is like at GP surgeries in the town.
Dr Davies has had fairly unsuccessful home visits trip after finding Winwick Road was closed.
Steady stream of patients for afternoon surgery, 12 of which are for Andy.
Right blog fans, we're closing in on 3pm which usually means another rush of patients after kids come out of school.
Just to set the scene; some of the doctors are out on home visits, there's a steady stream of patients collecting prescriptions and reception staff behind-the-scenes are busily typing up referral letters and still getting calls over appointments.
A doorbell sound means waiting time is over for the lucky patient whose name flashes up on the board
Share your views on patients visiting their GP over common coughs and colds
Here's what he had to say on the subject:
"If people could be more reflective when they use the health services about what they can do for themselves it would make a difference.
People saying 'I think I've started with a cold this morning but thought I would come in and check' is the most frustating thing.
Because the appointment is free, it has no value but it’s actually just cost the NHS £26.
We have to educate patients and promote what else is available
Yesterday eight out of 15 patients Dr Davies saw at the drop in session could have been seen by somebody else including a pharmacist or nurse
We have had many questions coming in regarding difficulties getting appointments but GPs are keen to spread the word that minor ailments including sore throats, coughs and colds can easily be treated by a pharmacist
"30 meetings with no agenda and all actions depend on you."
How Andy Davies describes a typical day for a GP
Bloke with a nasty mosquito bite earlier too. Expected him to say he had been to the Serengeti but turned out it was Lymm instead #DocDay— @hannahbargery 14 March 2014
Receptionists have had a busy morning dealing with patients and prescription and sick note requests but Nicky Twiss had time for a quick chat with me.
She said the attitude to staff can be frustrating but not everyone takes that tone with them.
She added: "Sometimes patients speak to us like we're holding appointments back but that's not the case and doctors are seeing patients constantly.
"It's getting busier and busier here now and people are very demanding and want things done yesterday.
"I think if they realise the inner workings of a surgery and that there's a lot more to the process with something like prescriptions than it just begin signed."
Just been chatting to practice manager Gwen Green who says everyone in her role across the country would agree their hearts sink when they hear of new government policies being brought in.
She added: "It's a unique business as you have to keep things running but at the centre of it all is patient care which is the main priority."
1:19pm Fri 14 Mar 14
Doctors skipping lunch to do paperwork, we all know that this will most likely lead to a lapse of concentration in the afternoon, not the best thing when your dealing with peoples health.
GP Mike Northey pictured below being interviewed by reporter Hannah Bargery
Our reporter Hannah Bargery at Greenbank surgery
Plenty of comments about difficulties getting an appointment but last month the surgery recorded 167 patients not turning up
A shelf full of thank you cards for the surgery
Here's what some of you have been saying on our Facebook page today:
Never have any complaints about Stockton Heath medical centre, I've always been able to get an appointment and the new telephone diagnosis system they are using where the GP calls you is brilliant. Keep up the good work!
I don't like the 8:30 ring!
Can be on hold till 8:50 then when you get through: "sorry all appointments have gone for today try calling 8:30 tomorrow"
I book online with Holes Lane and there is always at least several appointments to choose from. Never had a problem although I don't have need to go at the moment, great service and I order my PX online as well its fab.
My advice is more GPs need to go onto Dr First as Stockton heath and CCA have. My mum works for CCA and they have just rolled it out and it seems to be working great. I understand admin are there for a reason however I believe drs rely too much on admin and expecting them to make clinical decisions is unacceptable. Dr first means the dr contacts you and tries to solve things over the phone which is great it prevents unnecessary trips into surgery and means more patients can be dealt with in a day.
Police have been called out three times to the surgery in the past year after patients got violent and abusive #DocDay— @hannahbargery 14 March 2014
Sore throats, rashes, swollen legs and snuffley children filling up morning sesh here #DocDay— @hannahbargery 14 March 2014
11:41am Fri 14 Mar 14
Brick Bazooka says
Sounds like lots of abusive patients at this surgery. Have they all run out of methadone?
11:36am Fri 14 Mar 14
Personally I think the old GP booking system worked better, it's a nightmare trying to get an appointment nowadays. Let's face it we cannot predict when we are going to feel ill to do a 'pre bookable', and to get an 'on the day' is almost impossible. The GP surgery should still provide 24 hour care for you if you are registered with them, where you could ring the on call at the practice and they would come out. This would surely take some of the strain off the over crowded, over used A&E. Not the 111 malarkey that just doesn't work. Doctor's are very highly trained, highly paid and should be highly respected, it's the system that needs looking into and changing for the best.
We're nearing dinner time but many of the GPs won't have time for a proper break and will take the opportunity instead to work through their pile of paperwork.
Andy Davies added: "The number of GPs are eaxctly the same and yet the number of patients is going up with increasingly complicated needs.
"Most clinicians will be in the surgery from 7.30am and working after 7.30pm and 12 hour days are standard.
"There are days where I haven’t eaten, had one or two drinks and I’m physically and mentally exhausted making thousands of decisions."
Typist receptionist Jill Booth is one of the team who has to type up those referrals and described it as 'holding back the tide with a mop'.
She added: "we have to write letters for insurance claims, information needed by the DVLA and the department of work and pensions as well as trying to type 30 referral letters a day."
Dr Andy Davies said he has 78 letters to read and 15 test results to go through.
He added every hour in the surgery also generates another hour of admin that has to be done
But it's not just patients doctors have to deal with today.
There's also an ever-growing mound of paperwork including letters to read and referrals to make
What do you think? Would you like to see your surgery bring in a two hour drop in session where patients don't need an appointment?
GP Mike Northey had this to say on the subject:
"A big concern was patients not being able to get access and waiting two weeks for an appointment so we brought in the drop-in session.
"Two doctors cover the two hour session which means less routine appointments and to an extent we have had to sacrifice continuity with the same doctor for better access.
"We're always trying to tweak the way we do things but we always try and make sure if an ill person feels they need an appointment they're spoken to on the day."
The drop-in surgery has been popular with plenty of patients I have spoken to but some have raised concerns about not being able to see the same doctor on more than one occasion.
There's been a mix this morning of sore throats, snuffley children, swollen legs, one person with chest pain and a few rashes
Just grabbing a quick word with some of the GPs during a rare break for them. More updates soon
Drop-in surgery has come to an end here so patients will either have to book an appointment or request the doctor calls them back for a triage appointment.
Prepare yourselves for some stats:
There were 29 patients at this morning's session but the waiting room can be standing room only.
The busiest day this week was Monday when 36 people walked through the surgery's doors between 8 and 10am.
The quietest day was Wednesday with 23
On average 31 patients a day used the service this week but were all those appointments appropriate?
Lynne Gaskell added: "We're the first point of call and the first person they shout at.
"There are good days and bad days and sometimes people are really worried and you can understand that.
"It can be quite upsetting when you're shouted at but you just can't take it personally."
This is the surgery we are at today - Greenbank on Manchester Road - close to Warrington Cemetery.
Reception admin staff Rebekah Cooke and Lynne Gaskell said there have been no problems so far this morning but there has been days where 'every other caller' has been angry and abusive when they can't get the appointment they want.
The first point of call at any GP surgery is the reception team which can sometimes lead to abuse from patients and in some cases items being thrown at staff, according to GP Andy Davies - below.
He added police have been called out three times in the past year to deal with violent and abusive patients.
Patient numbers steadily building.
Just been chatting to one woman who says she uses the drop-in service at the surgery even if it's not an emergency as she can 'never get through on the phone to get an appointment'.
Think I have jinxed them saying it had gone quieter...there's now a queue of people at reception waiting for appointments.
After an initial rush at 8am, the waiting room is now looking much quieter but it's the calm before the storm as phone lines are expected to heat up from 9am with requests for appointments
The practice holds a drop-in session between 8 and 10am for poorly patients with many queuing outside the door when we arrived today
Morning early birds, we are at Greenbank surgery on Manchester Road today to see what the day in the life of a GP practice is like.
Get involved using #DocDay on Twitter or post your questions below to be answered throughout the day
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